Don’t Blame Ford, Blame the System

    By Philip Snow

    Prosperity subscriber Philip Snow is the Editor of Granada News, the official magazine of the Ford Granada Enthusiasts’ Club. The following is a shortened version of his Autumn 2000 editorial. The Club can be contacted at 116 Whitmore Road, Hanchurch Crossroads, Staffordshire, ST5 4DG.

    I’ve finally discovered the reason why Ford Motor Co cuts off the supply of replacement parts for their cars after only a very few years; and why they, like almost all car manufacturers, deliberately design cars to fall apart after only a few years. And it’s not Ford or the other manufacturers who are ultimately to blame. It’s the same reason why petrol is so expensive, why our roads are so congested (especially with HGVs), why air pollution is so bad (especially from HGVs), and why our roads are in a state of disrepair.

    It’s also the reason why we spend most of our lives with a millstone called a mortgage around our neck, why most of us have to go into debt to make any large purchase, and why the average adult in Britain is, either directly or indirectly, repaying (with interest) a debt of over £40,000 — over £80,000 for a married couple. It’s why Britain is losing her manufacturing industries and people are losing jobs, why we’re being flooded with cheap imports, and why the quality of manufactured products becomes shoddier.

    In fact, almost all of the serious problems which blight our lives, and those of all the people in the developed and developing world, can be laid at the door of this one fundamental reason.

    IT SHOULDN’T BE LIKE THIS

    The reason is “the money supply”. The money supply is the root cause of most of our troubles. And it doesn’t have to be like this. In fact it shouldn’t be like this, and we can change it. It’s easy to understand how it is wrong, and it can be changed, once we have a government prepared to do it. It’s more difficult to understand how we could have lived with such a flawed system for so long without realising it and changing it.

    The time is right to change it, and we can do this. The following will fully justify your cynicism towards those in the higher echelons of society, and will explain many things. In 1694 the Bank of England was created, not as a government-owned bank but as a privately-owned bank, under an agreement between the bankers of the day and King William who was deeply in debt following a few costly wars. That’s all the history you need to know.

    The flaw in the agreement, which King William didn’t recognise, was that the bankers were creating money literally out of thin air, lending it to him and asking him to repay it with interest (through tax on the people). What William should have done was to mint his own currency, which he was fully entitled to do. Unfortunately, as still happens, he took the word of the bankers that their proposals were better. Economics theory can appear far too complicated for the average man, even for a King or politicians.

    YOU THOUGHT HISTORY WAS IN THE PAST?

    Believe it or not, we’re still paying for King William’s mistake. Today in Britain there’s a total of over £1 trillion owed to banks and other financial institutions. That’s a National Lottery-size £1,000,000 multiplied over a million times. Over £1,000,000,000,000. One thousand billion pounds. And we’re paying for it, whether directly in the form of the mortgage we owe, our hire purchase agreements, our credit cards and bank overdrafts; or indirectly in just about everything we buy, because industry is in debt up to its neck and has to charge enough to service its debts.

    So if we assume 25 million adults in Britain, that’s £40,000 each, or £80,000 for a married couple. And all of this is completely unnecessary!

    The way it should be is that more money should be created under public control i.e. not by private companies such as the banks, building societies and other financial institutions. It should be made available into the economy by the government without any need for it to be repaid, and certainly not with interest. There are three main ways in which money could be made available: in the form of a basic wage to every adult, as subsidies to industry, and through government spending on health, education, transport, etc.

    Politicians, and even economists, talk about inflation and the economy “over-heating”, and it’s all complete nonsense. The limits on an economy are determined by what we can physically produce in goods and services from the available labour supply, our skills and technologies and the time available, and the supply of natural resources; and a proper balance of international trade. It should have nothing to do with how much money is available.

    Money is simply a token, which enables people to exchange their goods and services without the complications of bartering. Money doesn’t have any value within itself, it’s the goods and the services which have value. It should be the government’s job to ensure that there are enough tokens circulating to enable the exchange of goods and services. High-sounding clap-trap which masquerades as economic theory is just smokescreens and mirrors to fool us into thinking that the way it is, is the way it should be.

    The reason why Ford Motor Co denies owners of its older cars the supply of spare parts needed to keep them running is that Ford is as much a victim of the debt-based financial system as we are. All of industry is caught on an uphill treadmill, always having to increase its profits to stay in business. Ford has to design a limited lifespan into its cars to sustain a market for new cars. Ford stops making spare parts for the older cars so that the cars will need replacing. We know that cars made before the 1950s had greater durability, and that nowadays we have the technology to make cars which will last forever, and be totally reliable. Instead of our cars suffering financial depreciation and progressive tinworm, and the constant headache of non-availability of spare parts, our cars could give us the same joy as the vintage Bentley gives its wealthy owner who has no fears for its future. But because of the debt-based financial system our cars eventually succumb to decay.

    Don’t blame Ford, blame the system.

    It’s the need for ever-increasing profit which causes the proliferation of HGVs on our roads, with the accompanying congestion and pollution. Industry is forced to chase markets ever further from its local area, and we have the ridiculous situation of near-identical goods being swapped from continent to continent, with all the transport industry that this entails. It’s commercial traffic that is mainly responsible for congestion and pollution, not the private motorist; though even the private motorist is caught up unwillingly in the equation as workplaces and supermarkets move further out of town, again the consequence of the financial system.

    LIES, DAMNED LIES AND STATISTICS

    When government complains that it can’t afford to spend on health, education and public services such as subsidised public transport, new roads and road maintenance, it is telling the worst kind of porky. Government could and should create and spend whatever money is needed for the smooth running of the society.

    People do not want to be up to their eyeballs in debt, to work harder and harder and be flung headlong into some uncertain, high tech future in the name of progress. If we had democratic control over the money supply, we could determine our own work patterns, and decide for ourselves the rate and quality of technological progress. This would be economic democracy, and at present we’re being denied it. None of the big political parties seeks the remedy.

    A fundamental reform of the money supply is needed urgently.

    Money reform has been the subject of popular debate at various times during the last 3 centuries. We need to raise this as an issue for widespread public debate. We need a government prepared to undertake a wholesale root-and-branch reform of the money supply.

    It would be easy to say that we’ve been the victims of a high-level conspiracy at the hands of private bankers more powerful than governments, and who have added multi-national corporations to their armoury for total world domination. Well, seen from the level of hate and anger this would be a reasonable interpretation. But, let us rise above that and see it more compassionately and objectively.

    I think it’s true that the more positively we can understand something, the nearer it will be to the truth of the matter.

    IT’S A NEW WORLD WE’RE LIVING IN

    The money supply should become more considerate of the way people want to live their lives, be more democratic, remove the coercion to work ever harder to repay debt, and prevent the suffering of millions in the Third World. It’s the right time to undertake monetary reform, and we should encourage it, and support it happening. As far as possible, we should make it happen.

    So what can we do about this, for our own sake as car enthusiasts and family people, and the sake of the world? Well, to help raise the issue in public debate, you could print out and photocopy this article and distribute it among friends and workmates. I think that once we’ve seen there’s a need, a really serious need, and we know we can do something about it, it is part of who we are to do whatever we can.

    Purchase back issues of Alistair McConnachie’s Prosperity money reform journal here